Jump to content


Public Enemies (Michael Mann & Dante Spinotti)


  • Please log in to reply
55 replies to this topic

#1 Matti Poutanen

Matti Poutanen
  • Guests

Posted 19 October 2008 - 11:32 AM

Very excited about the 2009 movie Public Enemies: a crime drama based on fabulous book by Bryan Burrough, directed by Michael Mann, shot by Dante Spinotti, scored by another Heat collaborator Elliot Goldenthal and starring Johnny Depp and Christian Bale, there seems to be very little elements that can go wrong in this one!

Imdb tells us that Public Enemies is shot on HD video with Sony F23. HD is an intresting choice for 1930's period film, especially considering Mann's way of using it recently (long shutters of Collateral, extremely grainy "videoish" images of Miami Vice). Even more interesting choice seems to be that they are doing some footage with EX1, presumably for some rough hand held images:

Posted Image

Posted Image

So, anybody from the forums involved in this production? I'd love to hear some details from the shoot!
  • 0

#2 Serge Teulon

Serge Teulon
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 757 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • London UK

Posted 19 October 2008 - 12:02 PM

I am surprised to hear that a 30's film is being shot on HD.
On those pics, is that not a EX-1?

Lets wait and see before we judge....
  • 0

#3 Ayz Waraich

Ayz Waraich
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 68 posts
  • Director
  • Mississauga, Canada

Posted 19 October 2008 - 12:23 PM

I guess the days of Michael Mann films with gorgeous anamorphic compositions really are long gone then. *sigh*

look forward to this regardless, but still...
  • 0

#4 Max Jacoby

Max Jacoby
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2955 posts
  • Other

Posted 19 October 2008 - 01:26 PM

I guess the days of Michael Mann films with gorgeous anamorphic compositions really are long gone then. *sigh*

look forward to this regardless, but still...

Also his Super 35 films (The Insider and Ali) look gorgeous. And they are great films also, which can't be said for the ones shot on HD. Not that one has anything to do with the other, but still...
  • 0

#5 georg lamshöft

georg lamshöft
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 310 posts
  • Berlin

Posted 21 October 2008 - 03:35 AM

On his next film he will use the video-function of his iPhone... :lol: :blink:
  • 0

#6 Tim Partridge

Tim Partridge
  • Guests

Posted 21 October 2008 - 06:23 AM

Why did Mann ever STOP working with Spinotti? :huh:
  • 0

#7 Adam Frisch FSF

Adam Frisch FSF
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2009 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, USA

Posted 21 October 2008 - 08:20 AM

Oh no. When they're spending so much on production design and costumes and whatnot, it seems strange running around with consumer cameras. I have
a terrible feeling it's going to look crap only because of the cameras - not even one of my heroes like Spinotti can save that.
  • 0

#8 Trevor Masid

Trevor Masid
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 27 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 10 November 2008 - 03:45 PM

I'm so glad you guys agree, I was already super excited for this movie, but then I remembered that for some reason, Mann now chooses to shoot his movies digitally, and personally.. I think miami vice and collateral were two of the worst looking films I have ever seen. Absolutely disgusting. Going from how fantastically "heat" and ali were shot, to miami vice disgusting colors and video noise?
So disappointed right now.
  • 0

#9 K Borowski

K Borowski
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 3905 posts
  • Camera Operator
  • I.A.T.S.E. Local # 600 Eastern Region

Posted 11 November 2008 - 01:53 PM

I'm so glad you guys agree, I was already super excited for this movie, but then I remembered that for some reason, Mann now chooses to shoot his movies digitally, and personally.. I think miami vice and collateral were two of the worst looking films I have ever seen. Absolutely disgusting. Going from how fantastically "heat" and ali were shot, to miami vice disgusting colors and video noise?
So disappointed right now.


Again, I am going to stick my neck out and say that "Collateral" was well-shot because it did things that 35mm film couldn't' do. Good for Mann.

However, on a '30s film shot in the daytime, you're right, there's absolutely no advantage to shooting digitally. Maybe for him, noise is a substitute for grain they would've had in the '30s. But then, why not utilize push-processing, bleach-bypass, older B&W stocks, or a combination thereof to achieve the look?

Maybe Mann is just hung up on having his movies look "different", but there are so many new processes being tested with film all the time, and so many options with something shot on film and then altered through a DI that I don't see the point.

Mid-life crisis?
  • 0

#10 Matti Poutanen

Matti Poutanen
  • Guests

Posted 04 March 2009 - 02:04 PM

Trailer is out!

http://www.apple.com.../publicenemies/

Mann loving long shutters and grain in night time footage again, interesting to see if it will work out in a period piece. The one thing that really made me cringe is the window at the left side of the frame at 1.50: pretty harsh! Still looking forward to this.

One more thing about the trailer: weird musical choices!
  • 0

#11 Stephen Murphy

Stephen Murphy
  • Guests

Posted 04 March 2009 - 03:48 PM

Wow thats bad looking HD.
  • 0

#12 Jaron Berman

Jaron Berman
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 160 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • New York, NY

Posted 04 March 2009 - 03:53 PM

I think miami vice and collateral were two of the worst looking films I have ever seen. Absolutely disgusting. Going from how fantastically "heat" and ali were shot, to miami vice disgusting colors and video noise?
So disappointed right now.


Had those films been re-done shot by shot, substituting film....would they be as "disgusting?" This strikes me as a hatred of the medium and not the cinematography. If the medium itself made the cinematographer, a porn shot on 35 would be higher art than Benjamin button or Slumdog or any other digitally acquired film. And camera choice really would be the only thing holding backyard filmmakers from hollywood...(meaning RED's marketing campaign would be true).

This actually brings up a very interesting and timely debate about cinematography. With Slumdog winning the Oscar, there's been a lot of discussion here about how it didn't deserve to win because some shots were grainy or obviously lifted in post. Many people on this forum felt that Dark Night was more technically perfect and more technically daring, and therefore deserved to win. To justify the merits of either film, I think we need to really think about the definition of cinematography. For some people, it's art. For others, its craft. And for others still, it's a craft that in collaboration with other talented craftspeople and artists can help to raise the project as a whole to an art. And unfortunately, for some, the entirety of cinematography comes down to capture medium alone.

These discussions that demerit certain films based on the medium are kind of ridiculous. Some of us may hate the look of digital thus far, and others may love it. Regardless, at that budget and talent level, it is clearly a purposeful choice. Would you whip-pan during a love scene? Probably not. But if you did, it would certainly stand out and make people say "why the hell did they just whip pan in a love scene?" It would be a very visible choice, perhaps more visible than film stock choices or gamma curves.

There are so many conventions in filmmaking that we follow or respect because "that's how it's done." Why is night blue? Have you ever seen a blue night? Why do we match on action? Why do we do many of the things that we do in cinema? Because they are conventions developed to help the audience understand the story on screen. Especially now that literally everyone and their mother has seen enough movies in their lifetimes to just go along with these conventions, breaking the rules has a marked effect on the audience. Someone here said (and I'll paraphrase), "digital for a period piece doesn't fit." Maybe it doesn't fit the conventions we are used to but that doesn't make it wrong, unwatchable or even less artistic. We like to see old things look old, but realistically when living in a "period," everything looks new! For whatever reason, the film was shot digitally, so we'll have to watch it to see if that choice served the story. On Miami Vice, the digital capture didn't look like the show, but it was VERY much in the spirit of the original - innovative. At the time, Miami Vice was hot, new and pushed boundaries using pop music, wild colors, crazy locations, and styles than most shows. Digital served the story, whether it was clean enough for most peoples' liking or not.

Without asking him personally or being him, I can't tell you why Mann chose the camera systems he did on that film or Public Enemies. I can tell you the trailer looks fun and involving and that while certainly different, the cinematography is well-done.
  • 0

#13 georg lamshöft

georg lamshöft
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 310 posts
  • Berlin

Posted 04 March 2009 - 03:58 PM

Sorry, but it simply looks horrible, I cannot even imagine seeing it on the big screen... :blink:

The next new trailer on apple is "funny people" an Apatow-comedy shot by Janusz Kamsinki!?

What about letting Kaminski work for Mann and he gives his video-cameras to Apatow :lol:
  • 0

#14 Daniel Carruthers

Daniel Carruthers
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 334 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Canada

Posted 04 March 2009 - 04:28 PM

Sorry, but it simply looks horrible, I cannot even imagine seeing it on the big screen... :blink:

The next new trailer on apple is "funny people" an Apatow-comedy shot by Janusz Kamsinki!?

What about letting Kaminski work for Mann and he gives his video-cameras to Apatow :lol:



I think Jaron has a good point

Edited by Daniel Carruthers, 04 March 2009 - 04:28 PM.

  • 0

#15 Leo Anthony Vale

Leo Anthony Vale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2010 posts
  • Other
  • Pittsburgh PA

Posted 04 March 2009 - 04:31 PM

Mann loving long shutters and grain in night time footage again, interesting to see if it will work out in a period piece. The one thing that really made me cringe is the window at the left side of the frame at 1.50: pretty harsh! Still looking forward to this.


So a "period piece" should be shot on special ordered nitrate base stock in a Mitchell NC with Astro-Berlin Pan-Tachars in a Raby Blimp?

Gimme a break.
  • 0

#16 Daniel Carruthers

Daniel Carruthers
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 334 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Canada

Posted 04 March 2009 - 04:34 PM

So a "period piece" should be shot on special ordered nitrate base stock in a Mitchell NC with Astro-Berlin Pan-Tachars in a Raby Blimp?

Gimme a break.


yes to be considered "good cinematography" it would have to be? :blink:

Edited by Daniel Carruthers, 04 March 2009 - 04:35 PM.

  • 0

#17 georg lamshöft

georg lamshöft
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 310 posts
  • Berlin

Posted 04 March 2009 - 04:45 PM

I hate the look, not really the technology that was used - but the technology is part of the look...

See "Road to Perdition" (state-of-the-art film stocks and lenses + DI) and then look at this trailer and tell me again, that this movie profits from the technology that was used...

Artificial (not intended instead of manipulated) colors, limited DR, HD-resolution, noisy, motion artifacts (OK, I simply suggest that it looks like other movies which used similar technology - highly compressed trailers always look bad) - that's a compromise which doesn't help the story at all.

Michael Schuhmacher can drive really fast with a Lincoln but a Ferrari remains the superior sports car -> artistic skill is not an excuse for bad technology, especially not in a 100Mio$ Bale/Depp-movie with this potential.

I fear that economists will say: Mann and Fincher saved 50.000$ (?) by using cool new digital cameras so now everyone has to use them!

Edited by georg lamshöft, 04 March 2009 - 04:48 PM.

  • 0

#18 Matti Poutanen

Matti Poutanen
  • Guests

Posted 04 March 2009 - 04:51 PM

So a "period piece" should be shot on special ordered nitrate base stock in a Mitchell NC with Astro-Berlin Pan-Tachars in a Raby Blimp?

Gimme a break.


I didn´t say that it should be shot using "special ordered nitrate base stock in a Mitchell NC with Astro-Berlin Pan-Tachars in a Raby Blimp". I said that I am curious to see if using clearly modern tools of cinematography (video noise, long shutters etc) will work in a movie set in the 1930s. They could have shot "clean" HD video, as seen on Benjamin Button, but they chose not to.

Personally I think it´s fascinating. The trailer has a very modern vibe to it (music, compositions, the kind of hand held they´re doing), it almost reminds me the anachronisms of Marie Antoinette (the music, using modern props in sets etc). Of course the marketing people do have something to do with this, making the movie more accessible.

And I think it will work.
  • 0

#19 georg lamshöft

georg lamshöft
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 310 posts
  • Berlin

Posted 04 March 2009 - 05:26 PM

Editing didn't work:

I have no idea what his intentions are :unsure:

He could have used Super35 with modern lenses & stocks and create a very natural, realistic look (it's right, a period movie doesn't have to look old) or he could manipulate the look in post-processing or using classical cinemascope or...

But instead he used a technology which adds a very special "taste of it's own" (instead of being "invisible") and he uses this technology on very different subjects (Miami Vice = Public Enemies?). So maybe he simply loves this look or he thinks it's inappropriate to use film in the 21st century or he likes the way it handles on set? I don't know, but I'm sure future audiences will look back at this movie and ask: "why?" :rolleyes:
  • 0

#20 Arni Heimir

Arni Heimir
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 326 posts
  • Other
  • Reykjavik/Barcelona

Posted 04 March 2009 - 07:53 PM

I haven't posted here for a long time. But I just saw the trailer and thought it look brilliant! In fact, I think it is more interesting as a period piece because it is in HD.
  • 0


FJS International, LLC

Tai Audio

Paralinx LLC

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Abel Cine

rebotnix Technologies

Glidecam

Aerial Filmworks

The Slider

Visual Products

Wooden Camera

Ritter Battery

CineTape

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Technodolly

Rig Wheels Passport

Willys Widgets

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Metropolis Post

CineLab

Opal

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Visual Products

Metropolis Post

Abel Cine

FJS International, LLC

Ritter Battery

Willys Widgets

rebotnix Technologies

Tai Audio

Glidecam

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Paralinx LLC

The Slider

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Rig Wheels Passport

Technodolly

Opal

CineTape

CineLab

Wooden Camera

Aerial Filmworks